Is Adobe’s Flash player ready to play nice with Apple? Maybe. For the past year I’ve deleted and installed about a dozen updated versions of Flash. Each time I’ve been disappointed.
For a long time Flash was the single greatest cause of Safari crashes. Flash has a history of being slow and buggy. Is it any wonder Apple prevents Flash on iPhone and iPad? Is this new Flash better?
Better Performance Or Better PR?
The latest Flash player is almost the best Flash I’ve used on a Mac. Some might say the best Flash is no Flash.
For a few months I tried the no Flash method. No Flash for Safari or Firefox.
If I needed Flash I’d switch to Google’s Chrome browser, which has a built-in Flash player and doesn’t need the standard plugin.
The be very honest, that method works wonders. Safari and Firefox never crashed during the Flash hiatus.
And neither did Chrome. What does that say about Google and Adobe? This latest version of Flash has yet to cause my Mac (and me) any grief.
Flash For The Masses And iMasses
Flash player is showing up on more smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. Except Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. No Flash player for you.
Other mobile devices demonstrate the same buggy, quirky performance problems Mac users have suffered through for years, and there are two basic reasons why that is changing.
The first has to do with powerful new mobile CPUs which can handle Flash better than earlier devices. The second has to do with Adobe’s attitude about Flash. It was put up or shut up. Obviously, Adobe worked hard to improve Flash player performance on all devices; especially the Mac and mobile devices.
The newer Flash versions also bring support for multitouch devices, including gestures, mobile input, even accelerometer input (which look great on YouTube videos).
There’s also higher quality high definition video capability which provides hardware acceleration for H.264 video decoding. It’s notable on my low end MacBook.
Checking the Flash Features page you’ll see a number enhancements for desktop computers, some for mobile devices (optimization for mobile video and a new sleep mode), and even a browser privacy mode (goodbye Flash cookies?).
Flash, Boiling Faster
What the latest Flash boils down to is this. Following Apple’s public castigating of Flash on iDevices, Adobe apparently hunkered down to protect the franchise by actually improving the product.
Yes, YMMV (your mileage may vary), but while we’re waiting for the web authorities to figure out a standardized way to deliver video and audio that works seamlessly in all browsers, there’s yet another Flash player to test. News of Flash’s impending demise may have been premature.
UPDATE: I can’t take it anymore. After two days of heavy usage, both Safari and Firefox began to slow down, and the Flash plugin began to suck up ever more CPU cycles—even on a fast iMac with 4 gigs of RAM. Flash player might be OK for streaming a video or movie, but it can’t handle Flash ads in multiple open browser windows.
Back to Plan B. I ditched the Flash plugin from Safari and Firefox. Pages load faster and nothing slows down. If I need to visit a Flash video I open Google’s Chrome and use the built-in Flash player. It will be interesting to see how Flash behaves on all those Android mobile devices. It’s not pretty on a Mac.